Random ruminations while wondering whatever happened to Willie McGee . . .
CORBIN CARES: I would have liked to been a fly on the wall when Vanderbilt baseball coach Tim Corbin conducted his final meeting with this year’s team that finished second in the College World Series.
Corbin admitted this was one of his most special teams and you can bet that it ranked about as high as he could give it. Granted, it fell one game short of becoming one of six college programs to have won back-to-back national championships.
But to Corbin, this team was not about wins and losses. It was about chemistry, closeness, the process of individuals coming together and pulling for each other to make it a team in every sense of the word.
Yes, they had eight players drafted during the Major League Baseball’s Amateur Draft, two of them in the top 10, three in the first round, including shortstop Dansby Swanson, who was the first pick in the draft to the Diamondbacks.
Corbin has set the bar high at Vanderbilt. His expectations are to make the College World Series. He knows if they can get there, anything can happen.
But you can bet his final meeting with this team was emotional. This team was as close to Corbin as his wife and kids. They truly were a family. And like any family, they often leave home after they get out of high school. It was difficult to see the ones who left this season. But he can be content knowing he did all he could do to prepare them for the future.
They were lucky to have Corbin as their coach. And vice versa.
THE VU WHISTLER: Perhaps there were two. A local sports talk show co-host Chad Withrow, railed on The Vandy Whistler, whose loud whistles during the games came out loud and clear on the telecasts. It became irritating to those watching the game, myself included.
A caller identified the whistler as someone named Preacher. That person exists and does whistle during games, but the one Withrow mentioned was a man I know as Jeff Pack, and man, can he whistle. He whistles three short blasts and hopefully the crowd responds with three short claps of their hands.
My seat in the Vandy press box during a playoff game was in close proximity to Pack and I caught his act in full whistle. In that game, the fans barely responded to him, as the game wasn’t close. But he kept doing what was basically a one-man show.
How Pack has the breath to whistle that loud, that long, I have no idea.
I suggest Vanderbilt marketing or sports information department get some packaged cheers that they can control when to play them and that the fans will engage in. Florida State uses the Atlanta Braves war chant that every baseball fan recognizes. Hearing someone whistle for a three hour-plus baseball game becomes irritating, especially if you are seated close to him or watching on TV.
Surely Vanderbilt can come up with something better.
CWS GAMES TOO LONG: If college baseball is to grow and attract more young fans and TV ratings, it must cut down on how long the games last.
Game 1 of the Virginia-Vanderbilt championship series was won by Vanderbilt, 5-1. The time of the game was 3:31. Virginia won Game 2, 3-0 in nine innings. It lasted 3:42. Virginia won the third game 4-2. It took 3:37. It’s ridiculous and needs to be addressed.
All games (on TV) started around 7:10 Central Daylight Time. The longest game saw only three runs scored.
All games were on weekdays, where most of the people have jobs to go to the next day. With games ending around 11 p.m. or later, that doesn’t work. If you have younger kids around 10-under, do you want them staying up that late?
LOCAL PROS: We have a number of golf club professionals entered in this week’s 48th PGA Professional National Championship.
It will be held June 28-July 1 on the Philadelphia Cricket Club’s two courses.
Among those entered are McCabe GC Pro Audie Johnson, Johan Kok of Brentwood, who is now at the soon to be open Hideaway in Arrington and McCabe GC Manager Loren Personett of Mount Juliet.
BOB HORNER RETIRES: For the past 34 year, Bob Horner has been part of the Vanderbilt football and basketball radio team. He is behind the scenes as an audio engineer. In layman’s words, Bob keeps the broadcast on the air and brings the sound to your home or car.
“I was just thinking that I have been doing this half of my life,’’ Horner told me. “I have done this 34 years and I will soon be 68 years old. It’s hard for me to believe.’’
I asked Bob to give me some of his top memories of games he has engineered.
He picked the first game he did for Vanderbilt football. It was in the newly remodeled Vanderbilt Stadium when they played Maryland and quarterback Boomer Esiason. Vanderbilt won 23-17 and the National Commodore Club Director passed out victory cigars, “which we immediately lit.’’ Horner noted.
In basketball, it was the Vandy-Georgetown double overtime win over Washington State in the Sacramento regional, then got beat on a “No Call’’ at the end of the game against the Hoyas. In Horner’s words, “Yes, Jeff Green did walk. Everyone saw it but the ref.’’
One of his favorites was the famous “tennis ball’’ incident at Memorial Gym against Florida, the final home game and if Vandy won it would have won the SEC regular season title. Official John Clougherty had warned the Vanderbilt bench that if anyone else threw a tennis ball on the court it would be a technical. No one ever confessed who threw another ball, giving Florida two free throws. Dwayne Schintzius the Florida center who Will Perdue owned that day, made both shots to tie the game and the Gators went on to win.
The honorary Rebounder has a treasure chest full of memories, but most of them involve the people he worked with and other friends he got to know in the SEC.
APPROPRIATELY NAMED: The Nashville Rollergirls will take off their skates and put on their running shoes on July 11 for the inaugural Beat the Heat 5K and Kid’s Fun Run.
Proceeds will help the team travel to compete in this year’s Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby playoffs. They are currently ranked 4th internationally. It will take place at Edwin Warner Park, begins at 8 a.m. For more details, visit nashvillerollergirls.com.
Contact wkrn.com Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at firstname.lastname@example.org.